Forbidden Forms of Sexual Immorality

Leviticus 18 describes forms of sexual immorality which the Lord has forbidden.  Those who obey the Lord’s commandments will have life through them.

Sexual relations with close relatives are forbidden.  God’s people are not to have sexual relations with:

  • Parents or step-parents
  • Siblings or Half-siblings
  • Nieces or nephews, aunts or uncles
  • In-laws
  • Both a woman and her close relatives

Prior to this point, such sexual relations were not a completely unusual practice.  Obviously, when man was created, sexual relations with close relatives were necessary in order to populate the earth.  This was also necessary shortly after the flood in Noah’s time for the same reason.  Years later, this was no longer necessary.  Today, we know that some unhealthy physical conditions are hereditary and are commonly seen in people who have had children with close relations.  At this point, it’s hard to say what the spiritual implications or meanings are.  We must simply obey the Lord’s command not to have sexual relations with close relatives.

In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for allowing a man to engage in sexual immorality with his mother-in-law.  Even though Jesus did not address this in His ministry, Paul still used the original Scriptures to define sin.  Paul commanded them to cast this man out of the congregation so that his sinful nature could be destroyed and so that his spirit could be saved in the Day of the Lord.  Paul makes it clear we are not to associate with supposed brothers and sisters who engage in sinful lifestyles.  We are to judge those within our congregations, and to allow God to judge those outside the congregation.  If one who is cast out of the congregation repents, he is to be welcomed back in, forgiven, loved, and comforted.

Sexual relations with a woman during her time of menstruation (time of separation = niddah) is forbidden.  The issue of blood is a picture of death and the lack of potential life.    

Leviticus 18 also says that offering a child to Molech by passing it through the fire is forbidden.  This is comparable to abortion.  We are to nurture life, not take it.  This is idolatry, apostasy, and adultery.

Homosexuality and beastiality are forbidden in Leviticus 18 too.  The Bible says these are abominations.  Romans 1:26-32 says that those who were engaging in homosexuality did not like to acknowledge God so He gave them over to a debased or worthless mind so they could do all kinds of lawlessness including approving of others who did likewise.  This describes many of the people of the world today.

Today homosexuals proclaim they live an acceptable alternative lifestyle and are forcing this lie on the world.  Most of them are outside the church, but they are also present in the churches.  Without repenting and renouncing their sin, some who openly practice homosexuality even dare to stand in the pulpit and preach.   They should be cast out of the churches because Jesus will tell them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matt. 7:23) We must never approve of the practice of homosexuality or engage in it. Believers must not condone homosexuality (accept them as they say they are).

Many claim they were born into homosexuality.  Actually, we are all born with the propensity to sin.  We must reject sin and embrace righteousness.  God provided a remedy for sin.  Yeshua became the Lamb of God in order to take away the sins of the world.  We must respond by trusting in Messiah, putting to death all of the desires of the flesh no matter what they are, and rejecting lawlessness.  We must actively and strongly resist the temptations that come from the kingdom of darkness.  We must yield to and live by the power of the Holy Spirit.  We must live a life of lawfulness, a life of godliness by obeying God’s commandments. 

We don’t hear much about beastiality, but it is present in the world today.  For now, we only hear of rare cases of beastiality in the news, but I suspect that will get worse too.  Unfortunately, some people have even stumbled upon it by accident on the internet.  Many years ago, a friend told me of a supposed Christian brother who thought having sexual relations with animals was a good thing because there was no fear of unwanted pregnancy.  It is frightening to see and hear how depraved the human mind can be especially among those in the churches!  The Bible defines this as an abomination! 

I am sadly aware that proclaiming the commands of God can cause believers to be accused of hate crimes.  Believers are constantly accused of being intolerant even by those who claim to be Christians.  This is utterly ridiculous and unfounded.  People who engage in abominations need to know that those who stand for righteousness are much more tolerant and have more self-control than they are given credit for.  

Those who engage in sexual immorality need to know that God is not a tolerant god although it may seem like it for now.  That’s not a sign of love or weakness.  He is simply allowing these abominations to reach their peak while giving sinners a chance to repent before He executes judgment on them.  If they repent, He will respond to them by showing them love and favor, forgiving their sin, and cleansing them from unrighteousness.   If they don’t repent, they will face eternal punishment in the lake of fire.  For those who may accuse me of hate, let me say that warning someone of this truth is not hate, that’s love because I don’t want anyone to be separated from God forever.

Adultery (naaph) is also forbidden.  This is a picture of apostasy and idolatry.  We must be faithful to our spouses and faithful to the Lord God.  Although fornication (zanah) is not mentioned in this passage, it is forbidden elsewhere in Scripture.  Typically, we use this word to describe sexual relations prior to or outside of marriage, but it can also be used for adultery, harlotry, and idolatry.  All of these are forbidden by YHVH.  The Greek word for fornication is porneia.  We get the word pornography from this word.  All of these forms of sexual immorality are forbidden.

Sexual immorality will cause God’s people and the land to become unclean.  The laws pertaining to sexual immorality apply to both Israelites and foreigners.  Leviticus 18:29 indicates that the violation of these commandments is extremely serious:  “For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.”  The inhabitants of the Land prior to Israel’s arrival had contaminated the Land by their immorality and for that reason they were expelled from the Land.  It wouldn’t be long until the same happened to God’s people.

First Corinthians 10:11 tells us that the things that happened to the children of Israel were examples or prefigurative historical events for those of us who are living in the last days.  There is one particular event found in Numbers 25 from which we need to learn a valuable lesson.  Several chapters earlier, Balak the king of Moab had asked Balaam to come and curse God’s people.  Balaam came, but God did not allow him to curse God’s people.  God only allowed him to bless them.  Before Balaam was done, he prophesied what would happen to Israel’s enemies in the last days.  Numbers 31:15 indicates that despite all of this, Balaam gave Balak advice on how to defeat Israel by causing them to break faith with God.  That advice was carried out in Numbers 25.  The women of Moab convinced the men of Israel to commit idolatry and sexual immorality with Baal of Peor.  God sent a plague on His people for their sins that stopped only when Phinehas, the son of Eleazar killed one of the men of Israel and the woman of Moab he had taken into his tent.  Twenty four thousand died that day.  Only those who survived the plague at Shittim were able to enter the Promised Land.

Satan can’t change the final outcome of God’s plan for Israel.  The doctrine of Balaam is assimilation with the world.  It is alive and active in the world today.  Satan can still convince God’s people not to trust in God for all things.  If we are not careful, he can convince us to break faith with God too.  Those who did not trust God, those who rebelled against Moses’ leadership (who prefigured Messiah), and those who committed idolatry and/or sexual immorality did not make it to the Promised Land.  We must trust God, submit to Yeshua’s leadership in our lives, worship only God, and avoid sexual immorality in order to enter the eternal rest that is being prepared for us.  Yes, we will occasionally sin and commit trespasses but we must be quick to confess them and not make those a habit in our lives.  We must set our minds on the goal before us and remain faithful to the very end.

Knowing all forms of sexual immorality are forbidden and being able to overcome the temptation to be involved in them are two different things.  They can be very addicting.

What can you do to break such addiction? 

Repent of your sins by learning and obeying the written Torah.  As you do this, write your sins on a piece of paper and nail them to a wooden cross as a symbol of what Messiah has already done for you (Col. 2:13-15).

You must understand that repentance is not a prayer to say you’re sorry and a promise not to sin anymore.  This is too passive.  Repentance is actively rejecting sin and obeying God’s commandments.

You may choose to try a 21 day fast similar to Daniel’s.  Avoid meat, breads, cakes, candy, and soft drinks.  Eat healthy grains, fruits, and vegetables while drinking plenty of water.  Pray for the Lord to draw near to you and set you free from your bondage.

If you are having an illicit affair or homosexual relationship, end it.  Move and/or get a different job if necessary.  Never flirt or tell someone you have sexual feelings for them even if you do.  It will only invite trouble.  Ask Father to remove that desire from you but know that same sex attraction may never go away; if it remains a thorn in your flesh, determine to be celibate.  Deal with the generational curses in your life; cleanse yourself.  Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Yeshua.

Destroy or delete your pornography, cancel your cable or satellite TV subscriptions, and put parental controls on your computer.  Don’t look at or watch what you don’t want your children to.  If necessary, use your TV and computer only when others are with you.  Get someone to keep you accountable.  Guard yourself.

If you are dating someone, never ever be alone with them.  Be together only in public places or with other friends or family members.  Do not ever allow yourself to be in a place or situation where you can be tempted.

If you come face to face with temptation and you can’t flee, don’t respond passively.  No temptation ever leaves that way.  Forcefully, resist with your mind and your voice.  Resistance must be active, not passive.  You may be shocked and relieved at how quickly a temptation leaves if you do this.  If you master this technique, you will be on your way to righteous living.

If your life has not been touched by sexual immorality, you are extremely fortunate and blessed. You may not struggle, but your spouse or children may.  It is extremely painful to find out your spouse or kids have embraced fornication, homosexuality, transgender lifestyles, beastiality, or pansexuality. If your spouse has, let your spouse leave. If your kids have, get help, but realize they are ultimately in charge of their desires.

It hurts when therapists and the rest of the world calls you the enemy for not condoning sexual perversion. Don’t lose control. Reaffirm your love for your family members, but never condone their sinful lifestyle. You have the right to agree with the Scriptural definition of sin and not allow it in your house. As difficult as it is, accept that God allows individuals to go their own way; they will have to eventually face the consequences of their sinful choices. It hurts Him as much as it hurts you.

Don’t be afraid to get help. When you do, don’t make the sexual problem be the sole focus of your problem. Therapists, whether Christian or not, can lose their licenses if they don’t “support” these perversions. You have to accept and work around that problem. People need coping skills to avoid suicidal and homicidal ideation that results from their lifestyle not being accepted, yet that same nonacceptance needs to remain a thorn in their side that leads them to repentance.  As you work with therapists and social workers, make the issue a general obedience problem. You as parents set the rules for what’s allowed in your home; don’t allow the therapists, social workers, or courts to do that. You have the right to say what’s allowed or what will not be done in your home:

  • no cigarettes
  • no alcohol
  • no illegal drugs
  • no Scripturally forbidden types of sex
  • no sex of any variety for unmarried people
  • no pornography
  • no cross-dressing, cosmetics, or cross-assessories
  • no inappropriate clothing, whether it is too revealing or has unacceptable messages on it
  • no lying
  • no stealing
  • obey curfews
  • be respectful in all circumstances in word and behavior
  • do chores

The choices your kids make outside your home is ultimately their problem and it is practically impossible to control. You should try to do your best to control what goes on in your own home. You must be very calm and politely remind various professionals of that. It’s your house, your rules. If your kids don’t like it, they can be placed somewhere else if it comes to that. If it doesn’t, you are blessed. If not, think about the prodigal son. Pray your kids come back one day. Yes, I really do know how much it hurts to say that. It’s what God does, so follow His example despite how painful it is.

Anyway…let me summarize this post. No matter what, please avoid, flee, and resist all forms of sexual immorality, and be wholly devoted to YHVH. In the end, you can only be responsible for yourself.


The Law of Jealousy

Shortly after Numbers 5 begins, it describes the law for a jealous husband.  This law was to be carried out when a jealous man suspected that his wife had committed adultery.   The literal purpose of the law was to determine the truth of his wife’s behavior and for her to bear the consequence of her sin if she was found guilty.  Let’s see what this law says and see what else we can learn from it.

Numbers 5:11-31 says, “ Then the Lord said to Moses, 12 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him 13 by sleeping with another man, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act), 14 and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure — or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure —  15 then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder offering to draw attention to guilt.”  NIV

When a woman commits adultery, she usually attempts to hide it from her husband.  Her husband may experience jealousy but doesn’t have any proof that his wife has been intimate with someone else.  The only way he could find out for sure was to bring his wife to the priest with a reminder offering to draw attention to her guilt.  Today, we can’t do this because the temple is no longer in operation and most of us don’t live in Israel even if it did.   Even so, there is something else more important here for us to understand.

We have a reminder offering called the Lord’s Supper that was initiated around the time of the barley harvest (at Passover).  When we eat of this table, we are to remember the Lord’s death until He returns.  This reminder offering does not contain oil or frankincense but only bread and wine.  This meal is a reminder of our marriage covenant with Christ.  We are individually and corporately the bride of Christ.  Jesus is not only the groom but also our High Priest.  When we come to this table, we need to examine ourselves for sin, especially the sin of spiritual adultery.  At this time, the Holy Spirit often draws attention to our guilt.  This is important because our God is a jealous God.  He wants our full attention and devotion to be directed at Him.   If our heart is not right before Him, we need to repent of our sins.

Numbers 5:16-31 continues, “‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the Lord. 17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. 18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse.  Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has slept with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have defiled yourself by sleeping with a man other than your husband” —  21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse of the oath — “may the Lord cause your people to curse and denounce you when he causes your thigh to waste away and your abdomen to swell.  22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells and your thigh wastes away.” “‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.” 23 “‘The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water. 24 He shall have the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water will enter her and cause bitter suffering. 25 The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before the Lord and bring it to the altar. 26 The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial offering and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water. 27 If she has defiled herself and been unfaithful to her husband, then when she is made to drink the water that brings a curse, it will go into her and cause bitter suffering; her abdomen will swell and her thigh waste away, and she will become accursed among her people. 28 If, however, the woman has not defiled herself and is free from impurity, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children. 29 “‘This, then, is the law of jealousy when a woman goes astray and defiles herself while married to her husband, 30 or when feelings of jealousy come over a man because he suspects his wife. The priest is to have her stand before the Lord and is to apply this entire law to her. 31 The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequences of her sin.'” NIV

The woman stood before the Lord with her hair loosened and with the reminder offering in her hand.  According to 1 Corinthians 11:15, a woman’s long hair represents her glory, honor, or dignity.  As we come to partake of the Lord’s Supper, we should stand before our High Priest, reflect His glory, and give Him honor. 

The priest had a cup containing the holy water and dust from the tabernacle floor.  The cup of cursing the woman drank in this passage determined whether or not she obeyed God’s commandment to not commit adultery.  The woman had to drink the contents of the cup given to her and accept whatever happened as a result of doing so.  This shows that we all must accept the consequences of our sins. 

Interestingly enough is the fact that people are not much more than dust and water.  If the woman was innocent, she could bear children as a result of drinking this mixture.  If she was guilty, the truth was made known by the swelling of her belly just as if she were pregnant.  This is similar to how the sin of sexual immorality is often discovered when a non-married person literally becomes pregnant.  Another thing that can happen as a result of sexual immorality is the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.  This can lead to infertility which was almost unbearable for many women.  Infertility represents the absence of life and also represents death itself.

Note that during the ceremony of the law of jealousy, the curses were written on a scroll and washed off into the bitter water.  Together the contents caused bitter suffering if the woman was guilty.  This is a terrible cup for many to drink.

Do you see the spiritual dimension of this law?  We came from dust and will return to dust.  Before we do so, we all have a choice to make.  We can drink from one of two cups—the cup of blessing (wine) or the cup of cursing (water). 

We can choose the cup of blessing by deciding to obey or disobey God’s commandments.  When a person enters into a marriage covenant with the Lord, the words of that agreement (the law) should enter into his/her heart and mind.  The Holy Spirit helps the believer to live a life of obedience including producing the fruits of the Spirit, blessing, and eternal life.  This person will be found guiltless before the Father.

We choose the cup of cursing through disobedience to God’s commands.  Consider Ezekiel 23 which describes the cups of cursing given to Oholah (Samaria) and Oholibah (Jerusalem) because they followed after the gods of other nations.  Oholah committed harlotry with the Assyrians and never gave up her harlotry from Egypt.  As a result, the Assyrians executed judgment on her.  Oholibah did not learn her sister’s lesson.  She desired the Assyrians and Babylonians so God promised to give her the same cup her sister drank.  They both had to pay the ultimate price for their sin of spiritual adultery.

In the future, the nations will surely pay for their lawlessness but God’s people will pay the same price if they commit apostasy by rejecting God’s commandments and deciding to live a lifestyle of lawlessness too.  Those who come out of Babylon the Great will be obedient and the keep the faith of Christ.  They will cling to their Bridegroom and rejoice when it is time for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Note that the husband is innocent of any wrongdoing.  There is also no law for the man who commits adultery.  This is because the Lord was innocent of sin and will never be guilty of committing adultery against the Bride of Christ.  The penalty for both men and women who committed adultery was death.  Although this penalty was not always carried out, a pattern remains.  Those who repent by returning to God’s commandments will receive mercy and be declared not guilty. Those who don’t repent will be found guilty and experience eternity in the lake of fire.

Which cup do you want to drink?